Employment Guide

There are many legislative requirements that need to be followed. This online guide outlines the issues you may need to consider when employing staff in your business. Use this page as a tool or checklist to ensure that nothing has been missed when hiring staff for your business.

Your guide to employing staff in Queensland

Fair Work Australia

Fair work are here to help you understand your rights and responsibilities at work.

If you’ve got a question about workplace entitlements, fair works website has an abundance of information. They work with employees, employers and the community to educate and encourage compliance with Australia’s workplace laws.

Below we have included a summary of important information as per Fair Work Australia. Please visit https://www.fairwork.gov.au for detailed information or more extensive topics.


Employment Contracts

These are typically prepared by a solicitor or lawyer and set out the terms of employment between the employer and employee including conditions, responsibilities and pay to name a few. It is important these are documented in case of any disputes in the future. Liability rests with the employer, and litigation can be very expensive should there be any issues. Fair Work Australia has a number of good resources to help you understand and meet the minimum employment standards.



Awards cover specific groups of employees and set out the minimum conditions & pay that can be offered to an employee. These are complex and act in addition to the National Employment Standards. An employment law specialist can provide advice on the appropriate award for your employee.



Employers are required to issue payslips to employees that detail the pay components for a pay period (weekly/fortnightly etc) and keep record of the payments made. These need to be provided (or made available) within 1 working day of each pay day. Failure to do so can lead to significant penalties.

Australian Taxation Office – ATO

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is the principal revenue collection agency of the Australian Government. Their role is to effectively manage and shape the tax and superannuation systems that support and fund services for Australians. The ATO provides many useful resources to help you understand your obligations and taxation in Australia via their website  https://www.ato.gov.au/


Single Touch Payroll (STP)

Single touch payroll is a new reporting system that sends pay information to the ATO immediately after the pay run is completed. From 1 July 2019, all businesses that have employees are required to send this information each pay period (unless they only have related employees). Most accounting software (Xero, quickbooks etc) is equipped to do this making it relatively simple. This lodgement replaces the need to issue group certificates/payment summaries going forward.

PAYG Withholding

Tax needs to be withheld from employees wages on each pay run in accordance with the relevant tax table. Typically this will be done through the use of accounting software when the pay runs are processed. Tax is withheld from an employee and paid to the ATO on a periodic basis (Generally Monthly or Quarterly) through a Business Activity Statement (BAS). When you first employ someone, you are required to register for PAYG Withholding with the ATO and select what period you will be paying these amounts. Your accountant will normally do this on your behalf.



This is an additional benefit paid on an employee’s behalf to their nominated superannuation fund. They are required to fill out a superannuation nomination form (ATO Form) which contains the details of their superannuation fund account. Each pay period, superannuation is calculated (currently 9.5%) and is due to be paid 28 days after the end of each quarter. A superannuation clearing house is required to be used when making the payment, this is offered by the ATO, along with many other industry funds which withdraw the funds and distribute to the superannuation fund of each employee. Late payment of this can incur heavy penalties, attracting interest and making the superannuation non-deductible.

Workcover QLD

Workcover is an insurance provided for your workers which is managed by each state and territory. Each state and territory goes by a different name, please visit https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au to find the workplace health and safety office relevant to you. For Queensland it is managed by WorkCover Queensland, please visit https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/ for further information. There are a number of exemptions for related parties, but WorkCover is generally required when employing someone. An annual premium is paid and is calculated based on the total payments to employees multiplied by an industry rate.

Office of State Revenue (Qld)

Payroll Tax
Payroll tax is a state based tax for large employers with total wages in excess of $1.3m. Employers are required to register and pay the appropriate tax at a rate of 4.75%.

Don’t Forget

Record Keeping
Where payroll records are involved, the ATO and Fair Work requires that these records be kept for 7 years.

We invite you to contact us if you would like any further information in regards to hiring a new employee, or if you would like any assistance with setting up your payroll. We also have resource videos which demonstrate setting up and using payroll with xero on our website. You can access these free of charge at any time.

Are you looking to start up a business or change your structure? Check out our other guides on business structures. Private Company Structure Guide & Family Trust Structure Guide.

The information provided on this page is intended to be a general guide only and does not constitute advice. It has not considered your personal circumstances, your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, we recommend seeking independent advice from the respective profession in regards to any information provided on this page.

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